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'Funnest day of year' fetes Alberta arts

With more than 300 vendors filling 20 city blocks, the Alberta Street Fair is gearing up for what organizer Angie Heiney calls the “funnest day of the year.”

More than 30,000 people are expected to flock to the fair for its 19th year this Saturday, Aug. 13. Northeast Alberta Street from 10th Avenue to 30th Avenue will be shut down, making it the longest street fair in Portland.

“I’ve been to the Mississippi Street Fair and you can’t get in,” Heiney says. “Here you have the space to spread out.”

The fair runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., kicked off by a children’s parade at 11 a.m. All children are invited to dress up in costumes and join the parade. To participate, children should meet at Northeast 15th Avenue and Alberta Street at 10:30 a.m. The fair still seeks volunteers; visit albertamainst.org to sign up.

The children’s parade isn’t the only activity geared to kids.

There will be two contingencies of fair-goers dressed in costumes for kids to pose with for photographs. One group will be dressed as princesses, hanging out at the fair in the morning. In the afternoon, another group will arrive dressed as Star Wars characters. There also will be a part of the street fair sectioned off for kids to blow bubbles and play with hula hoops.

The Alberta neighborhood is known for its art scene, which will be on full display at the fair. Many of the more than 300 vendors are artisan vendors, Heiney says.

The artwork sets the fair apart, she says. “You can get world-class paintings and other pieces of art for what anyone can afford.”

All of the businesses on Alberta Street are locally owned, Heiney says, and many participate in the fair. From art galleries to pottery studios and handmade clothes, Heiney says there is a lot happening on Alberta Street.

Alberta Street also hosts the monthly street fair Last Thursday, but Heiney says the yearly Alberta Street Fair is more organized, larger and much more family-oriented. However, for those attendees 21 and older, there also will be two beer gardens, located near two of the three stages with musical acts, beginning at 11:40 a.m.

The Main Stage can be found at Northeast 11th Avenue, the Center Stage at 21st Avenue and the East End Stage at 30th Avenue. Two of the most popular acts will be Hip Stew, a blues, funk and soul group, and the Evening Star Orchestra, both from Portland.